My Letter To Dad (2015)

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Hey Dad,

Year 11 without you. Here’s what’s going on…

I honestly almost forgot it was your anniversary today. It’s the 20th in Japan, so in a way, the actual anniversary really passed by without me knowing it. 5-19-o4. I used to think that date would ruin my life forever, but this year is really proof that it hasn’t.

I’m glad that I forgot it was your anniversary yesterday. I think I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been with dealing with your loss. I forgot the day because I was so busy with my life here in Tokyo, and I cherish every day I have with family, friends, and work. But I’m healthy too because I’m not trying to hate you or hide from you. I love you, and I love remembering you, and I’m willing to let myself really remember you and cry.

I couldn’t do that for many years. I promised myself not to remember you deeply for many years. I couldn’t deal with the pain. I’m sorry for doing this to you. It killed my emotions for many years too, but I think they are starting to come back. Jesus has really been healing my heart with you these past few years.

That’s your grandson in the picture above. How can I explain what it’s like to be a dad? I know that you know. Each year I think I understand what you said to me more deeply. Family is the deepest earthly treasure. I want to be a better husband and dad. So much I could do better, but God is good to me each day. Where would I be without forgiveness? I fail so often.

Dad, we made it to Tokyo! We’re about 9 months into this new life and we love it. In a way, it’s hard for me to imagine going back to a life in America. We’ll see how long that sentiment lasts – ha! Anyway, I’m out here trying to help develop Japan’s future leaders. In a way it’s a fulfillment of the dreams you had for Japan. I know you wanted to sell your business and then move out here with mom after all the kids left home. I’m sorry you never got that chance. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made to make it possible for me to be here.

I carry your heart with me every day and try to live like we talked about the last time we spoke. I’m trying to give my life away for others like you told me to. It’s hard, but you were right, it is better to give than it is to receive.

This is the hardest part for me this year, dad. This is the part that is making me cry now.

I wish you could see the things I’m doing now with Sekai Creator. I wish I could see you “in the stands” like you always were for my basketball games. I want to share the struggles and joys of making this dream a reality. I want to introduce you to all my amazing friends and new connections here in Tokyo.

I miss you a lot today. We’re officially starting our first class tonight. It’s dedicated to you. Thank you for everything you gave me.

I miss you more each day. See you in Heaven.

Your son,

Stephen

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